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OAK@TEX: Darvish ties career-high with 11 strikeouts

Yu Darvish has posted a 10-6 record and 3.96 ERA in the first 17 starts of his All-Star rookie campaign. Imagine what he'll be capable of once he learns the tendencies of opposing hitters.

The Rangers right-hander will face the Angels for the third time on Saturday. Los Angeles will be the third team he has pitched against more than twice, with division foes Oakland and Seattle being the others.

"Slowly as I face these teams, I'm starting to get a feel for their strengths and weaknesses," Darvish said.

As Darvish makes adjustments, however, opposing teams are doing the same. The Mariners roughed him up in his last start, as Darvish allowed seven runs on eight hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings of a 7-0 loss.

"We'd just like to see him command the baseball again," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If he can start commanding the fastball again, especially his fastball, he'll be fine."

Meanwhile, Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.60 ERA), who will toe the rubber on Saturday, is plenty familiar with the Rangers. In 24 career outings against Texas, Santana is 12-9 with a 5.53 ERA. Second baseman Ian Kinsler (.383), shortstop Elvis Andrus (.355) and designated hitter Michael Young (.351) have all hit Santana well. Third baseman Adrian Beltre has four home runs in 49 at-bats against him.

Santana has been an enigma this season. He dropped his first six starts of the year. On June 16, he tossed a one-hit shutout against the D-backs. Three weeks later, he couldn't escape the second inning in a 12-3 loss to Cleveland.

In his last outing, Santana yielded four runs (two earned) on eight hits in six innings of an 8-6 loss to the Tigers.

"He's a big part of our rotation," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "For the last, it seems like 10 or 12 starts, he's been really underachieving. And I think there are some tangible things, and some things that he has to work through that maybe aren't so apparent, to just help him to pitch the way he did in Detroit. He pitched a good game against a tough lineup, gave up a couple unearned runs and a couple earned runs, but pitched deep into the game and pitched well. So hopefully he's going to harness that and come out here and compete."

Rangers: Moreland aiming for rehab assignment next week
• First baseman Mitch Moreland, recovering from a strained left hamstring, will run the bases on Saturday and Sunday in his next step toward returning to the ballclub.

Moreland had an extensive workout at first base on Friday.

"Everything has gone as planned," he said. "No setbacks. I'm feeling great."

Moreland is batting .272 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs in 55 games this season.

• The Rangers anticipate activating catcher Yorvit Torrealba prior to Saturday's contest. Torrealba missed three days while his wife was giving birth. The club is expected to option catcher Luis Martinez back to the Minors.

Angels: Haren nearing return
• Right-hander Dan Haren, out since July 4 with lower back stiffness, is expected to start on Sunday, Scioscia said Friday.

Haren (6-8, 4.86 ERA) threw a bullpen session on Friday. Scioscia would like to see an increase in Haren's velocity on Sunday.

"At times he's shown that velocity with us, but he's had to create a little more because of the back stiffness that threw his command off," Scioscia said. "And to create more velocity, at times that ball's going to get elevated. So Dan needs that easy velocity, where it's in your delivery and you're just executing your pitch."

Worth noting
• Beltre is batting .325 in day games, the eighth-highest average in the American League.

• Angels outfielder Vernon Wells went 1-for-3 with a double in his first rehab game for Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday night. Wells has been sidelined since May 21 with a torn ligament in his right thumb.

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